American Playhouse (1981– )
7.2/10
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1 user 1 critic

The Killing Floor 

During World War I, a poor black Southerner travels north to Chicago to get work in the city's slaughterhouses, where he becomes embroiled in the organized labor movement. He becomes ... See full summary »

Director:

Bill Duke

Writers:

Leslie Lee, Ron Milner (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Cynthia Baker Cynthia Baker ... Emma
Dennis Farina ... Supervisor
Clarence Felder ... Bremer
Moses Gunn ... Heavy Williams
Richard Lavin Richard Lavin
Damien Leake ... Frank Custer
Ted Levine ... Policeman
Robert Minkoff Robert Minkoff ... Extra
Ernest Rayford Ernest Rayford ... Thomas Joshua
Miklos Simon Miklos Simon ... Michora
Connie Szerszen Connie Szerszen ... Hysterical Woman / Stockyards
James Vallo ... Army Man
Alfre Woodard ... Mattie
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Storyline

During World War I, a poor black Southerner travels north to Chicago to get work in the city's slaughterhouses, where he becomes embroiled in the organized labor movement. He becomes prominent as a leader of fellow African-Americans in the union, though many, including his best friend, view him as a sell-out. Written by Karl Williams

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Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 April 1984 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Useful for those studying the black migration during WWI, the race riots in Chicago and the labor movement

Summary: Black workers from the South migrate North during WWI to look for jobs left vacant by people going off to war. They were often relegated to the most undesirable jobs and faced some prejudice. Some of them join the local labor unions and find themselves being paid substantially more than they would have if they had stayed in the South. After the war ends, the labor union loses influence as there are men who want their jobs back that these workers filled. We see employers using race to try to break up the union and there are accurate depictions of the Chicago race riots that occurred in 1919. There were massive strikewaves after WWI when many workers were laid off or had their wages cut. This film is useful to anyone interested in the labor movement.


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